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Natalya Brinza Project Manager

Interview with Evgeniy Stepanischev

We interviewed Evgeniy Stepanischev, a skilled programmer and Technical Director of “ Workflow Systems”. He told us how he learned 47 programming languages, his work in Yandex, the main problem of Habrahabr.ru, and where is the best place to raise a family.


Lives and works in Kazan

The Technical Director of ““Workflow Systems”” (Kazan, Russia)

Was the Chief of developers department in Yandex (Moscow, Russia)

Keeps own blog.

Keeps a column on Habrahabr.


Nice to meet you, Evgeniy. Thanks for the opportunity to interview you. For a start, tell us how did you start programming?

It was 1989 when my uncle brought me to a computer. As time goes, its characteristics were rather primitive — black-white alphanumeric display, 16 Kb memory, but I could play some simple games on it, though. I thought about how to write such programs. I read some programming books and the day after I developed my own. When it worked, I understood that programming is really my cup of tea.

What did you start your career path from?

Well, the start point is my work as a trainee in “Kazan Portal”. It was the most well-known portal about Kazan at the time. Meanwhile, I started learning all the technologies I am still working with – HTML, JavaScript, etc. Before this, I worked with compiled languages and was excited with the idea of creating something serious without compilation. It seemed weird then.

The work in “Kazan Portal” was my full-time job. After some years, I climbed the career ladder and became a Technical Director.

How did you get to Yandex?

By that time I had been working in Moscow. Since I had moved there, I was hunted by Yandex Hrs. I refused because of half-finished projects on the current work. After some time, the situation changed, and I agreed on arranging for interview. Yandex won my heart by its atmosphere. In 2 weeks after interview, I was already working there.

What were your responsibilities in Yandex?

At first – design internal services, then – manage its development. Internal services – are not the only ones, which Yandex users don't surf, but also some systems that are necessary for processing the data inside the company that enter from outside. For example, technical support interacts with users through the system, which was developed under my direction.

What leader are you? Authoritative or democratic?

It is hard to say. I think, I am democratic – I prefer to know my colleagues' opinion and only then make a decision. But if there is a lack of time, or disputants can't reach an agreement, I make a decision on my own.

Why did you decide to leave Yandex?

There are two most valid reasons. The first is the desire to parent children, which is very difficult to do in Moscow. I have returned to Kazan where I have an apartment in a nice area of the city with my parents near. The second one is the potential of the product I was going to work with. The system was so well-organized that it really impressed me. I have a chance to make it better and help realize the value of project – migrating Russia to electronic government.

What are your responsibilities in “Workflow Systems”?

First, I manage the process of development. We improve the system, make it more handy, interact with users and take into account their feedback. Yandex has taught me a lot in the case of the development process in an organization. Here, I want my experience to take effect.

What project was the most difficult for you?

Every year I have difficult project that seems to me the most challenging I have ever managed. That is why, I guess, my really most hard-to-do project is waiting for me in the future.

What are the projects you are proud of?

Recently, I have become a co-author of the book “Reactive websites”. It was absolutely a new role for me, even, in some way, adventure. I couldn't imagine how would I cope with this task, and if it would be successful. I think my debut was good enough, so I'm proud of this work.

What does your blog matter for you?

It is a platform where I can advance my ideas. I have a wide circle of interests, and glad when readers are ready to dispute with me. Also, it is my note book. Every day, I look up something in it.

There is a part “99” in your blog, where you describe one and the same algorithm on different programming languages. Now there are 47 descriptions. What will you do when there are 99?

I don't think that this time will come soon. Earlier, I did this in one language in a week. Now I do this seldom. Well, my speed is slack, and I have 10 years as far as it will go. I even don't know if there will still be programming by this time.

What programming language can help a newbie to master fundamental paradigms, as OOP?

In my opinion, you should learn in a regular manner – listen to lectures, read books, program. I mean, programming is just a part of the process. OOP paradigm can't be clear without theory and be mastered without practice.

You post articles on Habrahabr regularly. What inspires you?

Actually, I rarely do it. There are a lot of aggressive users, and you can be unjustly offended for some odd, even if a lot of work is done. I also have noticed that fall for the lemming instinct. That is why I leave comments very seldom. I think this is a great problem for such resource. Habrahabr administration has already noticed it, and now is grappling with it.

What sites do you surf every day?

Except Habrahabr and my blog – nothing. I read interesting things from Google Reader. I also add other interesting resources if I find something. I forgot about the site because it has no mechanism for subscription. I have no time to look through the updates every day by myself.

What is your advice to newbie programmers?

To be in progress every time. Programming is extremely competitive, and if you are not interested in something new, you will stand out of the path. So, learn more while you have time to do this.

What will you be in the world of programming in the next 5 years?

I think that in 5 years programming will be a hobby for me, not a profession. It is already happening, though I have no plans to quit it for ever. I'm sure that I will be a great coach.

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